If there is an unique and iconic city is definitely Los Angeles. From the minute you land in L.A., you won’t stop at all. From entertainment, beaches to shopping or museums, this city will keep you busy 24 hours. Where to go or what to do? Don’t worry, I am giving you the perfect touristic guide to visit the 15 must-go places in L.A.
I have been twice in Los Angeles and I still haven’t had the chance to see everything. Most recently, I thought I’d visit more this time, but L.A. keeps you so distracted that when I realized, it was already time to leave.
I said to myself this last time, I would do a touristic guide that would make my job easy next time I’d visit the city. I selected the main places and attractions, according to each area of L.A., resulting in an itinerary of 15 must-go places that can be easily done in 9 days. If you have less than 9 days, the way I structured the itinerary, you will be able to decide what can be seen according to your availability.
I divided the itinerary in 3, each one will take you 3 days to be visited, therefore a total of 9 days.
Lights, camera, action! Let’s get started!
ITINERARY N.O 1:
WEST HOLLYWOOD, WALK OF FAME, BEVERLY HILLS, DOWNTOWN L.A., KOREATOWN
1. WEST HOLLYWOOD
West Hollywood is a trendy area filled with art and cinema theaters. A cult theater that you should definitely go is the Nuart Theater. This movie theater is perfect for cinephiles, who like watching screening classics, indie films and documentaries. They also have a thematic horror movie at Fridays night.
An alternative to the conventional cinema theater is the Melrose RoofTop Theater. A great rooftop to enjoy a movie night along with a fancy three-course dinner. If you dismiss dinner, then just take your popcorn.
You can’t leave West Hollywood without going to the Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the western United States.
2. WALK OF FAME
The popular Hollywood Walk of Fame is a mandatory stop in L.A. The long sidewalk crowded by Hollywood stars’names is the perfect spot for an Instagram picture. There is so much to do when you visit Walk of Fame. There’s Madame Tussauds, Escape Hotel (its Escape Rooms with scary riddles is considered one of the best), World of Illusions (perfect to take unforgettable pictures with fun backgrounds) and also the shopping center Ovation Hollywood.
3. BEVERLY HILLS
The emblematic boulevard of Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, it has been seen many times in movies by its designer clothing shops and chic displays. If you like high class shopping this is the place to be. Besides designer clothing, you can also purchase art with several art galleries around, for example Galerie Michael or enjoy an exquisite meal at the Restaurant 208 Rodeo.
4. DOWNTOWN L.A.
Downtown L.A. will keep you distracted for a whole day. There is so much to do and to visit.
You can start to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a majestic catholic church building, followed by Chinatown and Union Station, the main railway station in L.A.
For a fun day, Downtown L.A. is the best. If you like gaming, you will love Two Bit Circus. They have virtual reality, arcade games and escape rooms. The whole visual and decor inside is so interactive, that even the seats at the bar are in a shape of a horse. In case, you like action movies, you can experience shooting a gun and feel the action on your hands, by going to The Los Angeles Gun Club. I tried it and it’s an experience I recommend. Last but not least is the Xlanes L.A. for a night playing bowling.
To end this first itinerary, I highlight Koreatown and not Chinatown, because Koreatown is different from what you could have experienced in Europe. Koreatown offers a wide diversity of Korean barbecue restaurants, karaoke places and if you want to relax, spas. Head to Wi Spa, for a 24 hours spa, 7 days a week. You can stay overnight and enjoy a massage, a facial, a body scrub or the saunas. They even have a restaurant inside, along with a fitness room and a terrace.
ITINERARY N.O 2:
GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY, MOUNT HOLLYWOOD, HOLLYWOOD SIGN, L.A. ZOO, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
6. GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY
A good place to see Hollywood sign is at the Griffith Observatory. Either outside or inside, you get to see it both ways. Inside the Observatory, you can see the Hollywood Sign from a better perspective through a telescope. Also inside, it’s worth visiting the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.
From Griffith Observatory, you have a beautiful view over Downtown L.A. and next to the Observatory, there’s Griffith Park which will lead you to Mount Hollywood.
7. MOUNT HOLLYWOOD
Mount Hollywood located at one of the peaks of Griffith Park, it’s another good spot to take pictures of the Hollywood Sign. The trail that starts at Griffith Observatory and leads up to Mount Hollywood it’s known as the Mount Hollywood Trail or the Charlie Turner Trail and it takes 15 minutes walking. You get a stunning view over Griffith Observatory, Downtown L.A. and San Fernando Valley, besides the Hollywood Sign. If you will be hungry after walking, you can stop at the Greek Theater and inside, you have Franklin’s Cafe & Market.
8. HOLLYWOOD SIGN
On the previous two places I referred the Hollywood Sign could be seen, but there is another two where you can see the Sign from: Beachwood Canyon Drive and Canyon Lake Drive, also known as, Hollywood Reservoir.
Bear in mind when you drive to Canyon Lake Drive, the road will say that is closed, but it’s not true. When I went there, I did that mistake and later on, I discovered that by walking you can get to Canyon Lake.
One thing to be mentioned is that you will never be able to get really close to Hollywood Sign, because it’s fenced and guarded by the police, however from the places I referred, you will get to see it.
9. LOS ANGELES ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, also known as L.A. Zoo, is a beautiful place to go if you have children. The wildlife from the zoo together with exotic vegetation will make you feel as if you are in a jungle.
10. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
There are three main studios to visit in L.A.: Warner Bros, Paramount or Universal. The reason I selected Universal Studios Hollywood is because it fits on itinerary N.o 2 perfectly and also the high-tech 3D screen tour through the studios of major famous movie sets like: Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Fast and Furious, Harry Potter, Godzilla, War of the Worlds and Psycho. Everything is so real, that you feel like being part of the set. They also have a thematic park for: Minions, Simpsons and Kung Fu Panda.
ITINERARY N.O 3
MALIBU BEACH, GETTY VILLA, SANTA MONICA BAY, SOUTH BAY, DISNEYLAND
11. MALIBU BEACH
In Malibu Beach you can feel the surf vibes of Los Angeles. Full of surfers and tourists, you can either take a picnic and eat at the beach or just go to Malibu Beach Pier and enjoy an organic meal at Malibu Farm.
12. GETTY VILLA
I wish I had have the time to visit the Getty Villa, but I’m promising myself on my next trip to L.A. I will. The Getty Villa is a must-go place by its majestic garden and the museum of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. The decor that surrounds the Villa is a fascinating work of art and has been the set of many movies such as Thor and Star Trek.
13. SANTA MONICA BAY
Santa Monica Bay includes several beaches, two of them have become super popular, because of the TV series of Baywatch: Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
In Santa Monica Beach besides going for a walk at the boardwalk or sunbathing, you can have some fun at the amusement park at Santa Monica Pier. I loved the first time I went there, because it was 4th of July and the fireworks made the Pier so beautiful. I had so much fun on the amusement rides and the big wheel.
If you prefer shopping, you can choose between Santa Monica Place or Santa Monica Promenade.
In case you are more into extreme sports, then Venice Beach is the best beach for you. They have a skate and an inline skates park. It’s a very cool park and you see people from all ages! The boardwalk of Venice Beach it’s better than Santa Monica Beach, there is more bars and shops.
On both beaches you will see volleyball and basketball courts with so many people playing. Santa Monica Bay is where you feel the true Californian beach vibe.
14. SOUTH BAY
South Bay is the southern shore of Santa Monica Bay. There are also several beaches, but one that I recommend going is Manhattan Beach. It’s less windy than Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Manhattan Beach Pier it’s worth to be visited, as the stores across the streets of Manhattan Beach.
Probably the most popular amusement park in the world is Disneyland and of course I had to include it as a must-go place in L.A. I still didn’t have the chance to go there, since I believe I would need a whole day to visit everything and the times I went to L.A., I didn’t get the “luxury” of spending just one day at Disneyland. Although, everyone that I know that went there, said they loved it.
I include it in the itinerary N.o3, for the fact that Disneyland is in the route of South Bay heading south to Long Beach.
When you visit L.A. remember that in U.S. they tip all services, so make sure to tip from the taxi driver to the porter in the hotel.
L.A. can be really windy at times, so take a warm jacket with you for the chilly days.
Exchanging money in L.A. is easy and the exchange rate it isn’t that bad.
Food can be expensive, but luckily fast food in U.S. is super tasty, helping you to save some money. Check my article L.A. Food Guide: from the cheapest to the most expensive restaurant and different type of cuisines too.
If by any chance, you plan a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, read the article bellow:
Wishing everyone a cool weekend.
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Great travel post Michele! I would love to visit LA one day and see all these iconic places I’ve seen in so many movies. Whenever I do, I’ll make sure to visit all the places you recommend in your post.
Thank you! When you visit LA, I want to know, if you liked it or not😃
I don´t know when I´m going to visit but I’m sure I’m going to love it!